Developing Pull-ups

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Jaydub, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    I'm ashamed to admit this, but I can't do a single pull-up. I'm going on a physically demanding course this October; a course which will require me to do several pull-ups.

    I can crank off dozens of push-ups and sit-ups. I can run fairly well, bench a decent amount of weight and can nearly max out a pull-down machine, so I don't believe that I'm a weak person. I'm a bigger guy (6'0, 240ish lbs), so I imagine that's a big part of it.

    They say that to get good at something, keep doing it. That becomes quite a paradox when you can't even do one! I've been using TRX rope exercises and partner assisted pull-ups to develop. I'm also in the process of dropping some weight. My goal is to do three unassisted by August, and seven before my course starts in October.

    Can anyone think of any other methods or experiences that could help?
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Your lack of ability to do pull-ups is testament to the fact that the human body adapts very specifically to the tasks asked of it (which is why you can max out a pull-down machine - although they look similar, the two exercises impose different demands on your body).

    Here is a great article on a very effective training protocol called 'greasing the groove':

    Greasing the Groove: How to Make It Work for You
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  3. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    Thank you very much for the article. It ties in with my situation. I'm thirty-six years old, and have not done a pull-up since I was nineteen. As suggested in the article, I'm going to incorporate negative pull-ups into my routine.

    Do you think I can achieve my numbers goals? Can my body adapt to do 3 unassisted pull-ups by August, and 7 by October?

    In the interest of accountability and sticking to my program, I will post updates.
    Simon likes this.
  4. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I'm 51 and have set physical goals for this year I will reach.

    Whether you say you can, or say you can't you are correct, so say to yourself, "I will do 3 unassisted pull ups."

    Good luck and look forward to the updates.
  5. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    Not too sure it helps or its valdiity but i read a pull up method of doing 1, resting for 10 seconds, doing 2, resting, doing 3 etc until you cant do anymore. that might build up strength when you can actaully do one.
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I think you could do that number - more, even - much sooner than August. Your body is an incredibly adaptive organism that will quickly respond to the stresses placed upon it. The hardest part for most people is breaking through the mental barriers that so often force us to quit before we're really through.

    When you get the chance, watch this interview with David Goggins. He offers some fantastic advice on building psychological fortitude.

    Edit: The video contains strong language.

  7. Anwolf

    Anwolf Valued Member

    If you go to a gym that has an assisted pull-up machine you could use that to work your way up, or you could use resistance bands to help.
  8. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    I'm weird with pull ups. I can bang out 10 easily. Then the next 2 sets, I feel like I weigh a ton.

    Like yourself I can do +BW on pull downs and lat pulls. But struggled on Pull Ups themselves.

    What helped me was basically... just doing them. Eventually built up to adding weights.

    Then when I stopped doing pull ups due to some injuries, I feel liked I had to start at the beginning again.

    Practice makes (not quite but closer to) perfect!

    Good luck.
    hewho likes this.
  9. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    If you have access to suspension straps then body rows are a decent start, as are doing negatives. Get yourself up high enough to be over the bar, and slowly lower. Keep trying, keep trying, keep trying :)
    You can also put a foot, or two feet, on the wall, and use that as a way to modify the weight you have to move :)
    An article I enjoyed Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done
  10. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    Thank you to everyone for the insight and encouragement.

    I will apply these points to my training, and I will achieve my goal.
    hewho likes this.
  11. Shmook

    Shmook Valued Member

    If you have/get door frame pull up bar, there are basic calisthenics programmes which will get you there.

    Look at 'get strong' by the Kavadlo brothers. It's about £7 on Kindle :)

    If you don't want to pay, there's a wealth of info on YouTube!
  12. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    At 16 stone, spent months trying to build it up using lat pull down and pull up assist machines. The best progress I made was doing negative pull ups, and mixing it with chin ups, and progressing negative pulls ups with a weighted bag.
    Even though assisted pull up machine and lat pull down seems to match the structure, something about it did not quite work with me.

    Losing weight also helped after some time :D but that is a bit like cheating I guess.
  13. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    OK if we are being honest I struggle as well with these even through I lift three times a week on top of my martial arts and HMB. I have been putting chin ups in my routine since I left Kyokushin where I could do 10-15 and now I struggle to do five in a set. Doesn't help that every person I see doing them in my gym makes them look effortless....Of course I am not jealous at all :)

    I am working on lat pull downs and barbell pull overs as well as using an assist machine in the gym to try and build up my pull ups. I also have a external staircase which I am using on my nightshift as I admit I can be a little self conscious doing them in the gym and don't have the added pressure I feel in the gym, even through I am aware most people are too busy doing their own thing to notice..
  14. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Question: Do you do heavy strict rows (barbell or machine, doesn't matter)? Chins and pulls have a torso angle change all throughout each rep, and generally end at a more "horizontal" pull angle than that at which they begin when you're at a dead hang. Rows are also a more basic and far more heavily loadable movement than lat pulldowns, so much better for general strength building. If you can't do so already, see what happens after you build up to strict rowing your bodyweight for a set of 10 touching each rep somewhere around your navel or thereabouts (to ensure your lats are being loaded; like so)
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  15. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    I do heavy dumbbell rows in my routine normally 3 x 5 sets normal and incline on a bench., don't current use a bar will look to add it to my routine and see if it helps. Thanks
  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Anytime! Heavy DB rows are never a bad thing either :D
    Dan93 likes this.
  17. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    Thanks again to everyone for all the advice. I can do about 2.5 unassisted pull-ups now.

    After returning to Canada in August, I'm going on post-deployment leave for just over a month. The biggest challenge will be maintaining my program after I get home. Thankfully, there's a park with a pull-up bar near my place.

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